Too much storage space???

mdasayJune 19, 2007


I have a problem that most of you probably think isn't a problem, but I think my kitchen has too much space. How can I utilize my space more efficiently? I have 9 uppers that measure approx. 39" x 32" x 12", a corner unit and a small cabinet for spices. The lowers cab (5 - each with a drawer on top) are approx. 39" x 36", then there are two corner units each with lazy susans and a also there's a stack of drawers on the island. Plus I have a corner walk-in pantry that is pretty good sized.

I really don't know where to start getting this space organized better. We have been here for 5 years and the kitchen has accumulated a lot of things mostly because it will fit somewhere. How should we tackle this. We are having some extended stay (2-3 weeks) house guests next month and I would like to have the kitchen in ship shape. Help me with ideas please...

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I'm not quite sure of your exact problem, but some of the basic principles still apply. Try to see what you truly NEED in the kitchen and emphasize location, things used together, step saving and so forth. If you really do have a lot of conveniently located storage, you may find you can create great convenience by putting stuff together that, in a kitchen with less storage, will have to be spread out. Example: if someone uses a lot of different spices but does not have the right storage, there will be a few here, a few there, large containers over there, or only buy spices that will fit instead of the ones you want, etc. Or cereal--with the right storage, you can buy the bigger cheaper boxes and put it right where you want it. Dishes and cookware--all right where you need it, and there?

With a lot of cabinets, you might re-think the pantry use. I wish I had a bigger pantry for bulk items and to have more of things we run out of, but what I really like is to store certain staples right by where they are used--cereal, rice, pasta, vinegars and oils and so forth. So "pantry" doesn't mean you have to store all food there and all dishes in the kitchen--try to think where is is most convenient.

Next, if you think that "too much storage" has caused you to accumulate stuff you don't really need, you're lucky but now have to de-clutter! Then once you do, you will have the "breathing space" that makes it easier to get stuff in and out, & not have to put things back together like a puzzle. On the other hand, if you lack storage elsewhere, then the kitchen might be the right place, but you would use the least accessible areas for this alternate storage.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 4:23PM
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Are you horribly uncomfortable with the notion of empty space? Some people are. A lot, are, I think. It's the same thing with silences in a conversation ... many people will just natter on to fill the void, rather than be comfortable with it.

I have found that it's therapeutic to go to garage sales and see all the junk people have bought and kept and are now trying to sell for a dollar. Strengthens my resolve to not keep stuff just because I can. Sooner or later you, or your family, will have to get rid of all of that clutter. Having gone through it with my mom's house, I can tell you I don't wish that on anyone.

Even in my previous small kitchen and current small kitchen, I have empty shelves or parts of shelves, but there are only two of us here now and we just don't need a lot of extra dishes and usually don't buy in bulk, preferring to keep a smaller amount on hand.

If you don't need all that pantry space I'd think about using it in another way. A walk in pantry would be easy to convert to some other use. Keep all the cleaning supplies, including vacuum, in there. Keep all the games or craft supplies or something else that you'd like to keep handy.

Although if you have that big of a kitchen, you probably have a lot of storage in other areas.

Revel in the possibilities! Empty spaces can be salve for the soul and relaxing for the mind. Nothing to contemplate there - just let it be.

(I've been reading some pages from my Zen calendar again, can you tell?) (now I need to transfer that Zen-ness to my piles of paperwork - just clear them out.)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 5:02PM
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Lena M

I have found that it's therapeutic to go to garage sales and see all the junk people have bought and kept and are now trying to sell for a dollar.

LOL minet. I get the same reaction from Goodwill. I like your Zen approach.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 6:55PM
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First, I would go through the cabinets and drawers and declutter those items which have landed there just because you have room. Once those are gone, I would then arrange the items like you would for any other kitchen. Your cooking, mixing, pantry, whatever. I think your biggest problem right now is all of the "non-kitchen" extra stuff is making so you can't see how well your space could function.

We have a good amount of cabinet space, but I still have my basic rules of kitchen items only. I've bent that a bit to include crafting type stuff the kids use, since they always sit at the kitchen table, but no junk drawers, etc. for me.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 3:18AM
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I differ w/ Gloria on this a little If you truly have more space in your kitchen than you need for kitchen stuff, it is OK to have other stuff there "just because you have room." Though I think personally I'd lean toward stashing stuff that was *sort of* kitchen-y. Craft stuff, perhaps, if I had a kitchen table, etc. But my kitchen is so small, I never do crafts in it, so I wouldn't keep that there.

But maybe I'd move vases out of the living room or the dining room hutch (since I fill them in the kitchen anyway), and free up space *there* to store non-kitchen stuff.

But I also wouldn't have the slightest qualm, if I had enough extra space, about packing up something for "deep storage" and stashing it on an upper shelf. As long as it was well sealed. I'd even keep Christmas decor items up there, if I had the room.

But I agree w/ Gloria in thinking that the non-kitchen stuff is obscuring your space and making it hard to see how you want so use it.

So you might move the non-kitchen stuff out for a little while so it's not in your field of vision while you address the KITCHEN (even if you eventually move it, or some of it, back--and in fact, moving it out might get you to decide where--or if-- you *really* want to put it, since it's only in the kitchen bcs there was space there). So it's not having any influence on how you arrange your kitchen stuff. Bcs kitchen function comes first, of course.

Then, look at the kitchen stuff. Do you need what you have? Do you use it? Is there something you wish you had, that you think you'd use?

Then, look at your space, and how you work. What's the best place to put it? Tons of advice has been written, and I bet you find a lot w/ a simple web search. But also think about how YOU like to work.

I have divided my kitchen in "baking" and "cooking" zones, even going so far as to duplicate some of the tools (measuring spoons, etc.).

The other thing that always throws me off is height. Pantry stuff like oils and syrups--they're both tall, and so sometimes it's more space efficient to store them on the " wrong" end bcs then stuff the same height is on the same shelf. I've decided that this is OK--my kitchen isn't so large that a stranger couldn't find them, and of course I know where they are without thinking about it.

There are great gadgets out there, if you want to take it to the next level.

Drawer dividers
plastic ones (someone here has these and doesn't like them; I 've had good luck with them)
trays in every material from thin white plastic to clear acrylic to wire mesh to wood
Metal channels or "bin holders" you can "nail" into the wooden drawer; slide 1/4-inch-thick wood slats into them as dividers (buy them precut from a good crafts store, or cut them yourself from 1/4-inch plywood or whatever you can get)

and of course lots of cutlery dividers, trays, etc.

Remember that you don't have to divide up EVERY section of your drawer; I have a very successful utensils drawer that has a divided tray in half of it, and the other half is undivided so I can jumble all the oddly shaped and bulky tools in there. It works well--the small things stay where they can be found, and the big stuff can nestle and intertwine so they take up less room. Since there are fewer of them, they don't actually get so jumbled that I can't get them out easily.

Base cabinets (or over the fridge, perhaps)
tray dividers

there are tons of items available--you just have to decide what works for you

I'm personally a fan of:

tray dividers (I believe you should buy 2 sets and space them closely); they come in 12" and 18" sizes

pull-out shelves (the source I linked to will make them to fit your cabinet exactly, and has good installation instructions)

I like back of the door storage, but I don't always find a design I like.
I like the single shelf, instead of the big rack. this one comes in several widths.

this is 2 shelves, but at least they're closely spaced

Here's a one-shelf versions, and these are my favorite. Bcs you can place them where they work.

this one's , so good for cleaning supplies, bottles of oil, etc. That site has several other big ones like this.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 10:00AM
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